Wednesday’s Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage are generating reactions for and against from various religious denominations and organizations.
I’ll append them as I get them.
–American Family Association in Tupelo, Miss:
“We are deeply saddened by today’s decision to not only allow but encourage same-sex marriage in our country—a country that was founded on biblical principles. We mourn for America’s future, but we are not without hope,” said Tim Wildmon, president of American Family Association. “Our next line of defense is to vigorously protect our religious liberty. The homosexual lobby and agenda is running rampant across America, and is even pervading our elementary schools. The judicial activism that is being demonstrated is deplorable as the Supreme Court is imposing its will on the people and legislatures of the fifty states in our United States of America. Now, we must warn against the coming persecution, the barrage of criticism and the aggressive action of the homosexual agenda to indoctrinate and change the thoughts and convictions of Americans to accept this lifestyle as the new normal. In addition, the trend of classifying statements that have a biblical foundation as ‘hate speech’ is one that AFA will do everything in its power to prevent.”
–Joint statement by Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Women of Reform Judaism and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism:
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality is a significant victory for the protection of Americans’ civil rights. No longer will lesbian and gay couples remain invisible to the federal government; no longer should there be doubt about the legal legitimacy of these partnerships.
“The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which we vigorously opposed when it was first considered, has been an offensive and discriminatory measure since its passage in 1996. Since then millions have been denied fundamental rights because of the impact of this ill-advised law. Though that law still stands, today’s ruling in Windsor v. United States promises to lessen some of its most damaging effects. By striking down Article Three of DOMA – a section of the law that the Obama Administration stopped defending several years ago – the Court has enabled legally married same-sex couples to receive the same federal benefits, rights and responsibilities as married heterosexual couples.
“Sadly, too many couples across America are still denied the fundamental right to marry. The Court’s ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry effectively expands that right to tens of millions more Americans. The Court missed an opportunity to take a stronger stand for marriage equality today, yet it is a step toward greater civil rights for millions of Americans.
“There is no more central tenet to our faith than the notion that all human beings are created in the image of the Divine, and, as such, entitled to equal treatment and equal opportunity. Many faith traditions, including Reform Judaism, celebrate and sanctify same-sex marriages. Thanks to the Court’s decision, the federal government will now recognize these marriages as well, while still respecting the rights and views of those faith traditions that choose not to sanctify such marriages.
“Inspired by our Movement’s longstanding commitment to civil rights, we joined in amicus briefs to the Court in both the Perry and Windsor cases. We look forward to the day when full civil marriage equality is the law throughout the country, reflecting our nation’s historic commitment to the civil rights of every individual. In the meantime, today’s decisions will inspire us to continue to seek justice for all.”
–Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive minister of the United Church of Christ’s Local Church Ministries:
“This is a great day for marriage equality, for all couples, gay or straight, because the Supreme Court has underscored the central point that marriage is ultimately about deep commitment between two people who love one another, not prescribed gender roles,” Guess said. “While we still yearn for the day when equal marriage is fully legal, granted and protected in all 50 states, this is a great step toward full freedom and recognition for LGBT people by the U.S. federal government.”
–Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).
“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court of our country, stood on the side of love with its decision in United States v. Windsor declaring that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.
This is a proud and momentous day for all who have suffered under this law and felt discrimination based on their sexual orientation. It is a victory for the principle that civil rights belong to all.
In the Proposition 8 case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal over same-sex marriage on jurisdictional grounds, essentially paving the way for marriage equality in California.
While I am disappointed that the Supreme Court did not declare the freedom to marry as a constitutionally-protected “equal protection” right that would apply to all states, I applaud this historic step towards equality.
The Unitarian Universalist Association joined two amicus curiae briefs in these cases with other religious organizations in support of marriage equality. In both cases, the UUA argued that a broad cross-section of religious denominations recognize the dignity of lesbian and gay people and their relationships, recognize the necessary distinction between civil and religious marriage, and recognize that civil marriages of same-sex couples will not impinge upon religious beliefs or practices, but rather will prevent one set of religious beliefs from being imposed on others through civil law.
Unitarian Universalists have been vocal supporters of marriage equality for decades. I thank them for their dedicated commitment to our Unitarian Universalist principle of affirming the worth and dignity of every person.
There is still so much work to be done to ensure equal protection for all who live and love in our country. As we know, marriage equality strengthens families, protects children, and ensures the basic rights of citizenship for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender couples.
It remains my fervent hope that soon marriage equality is afforded to all in this country. Unitarian Universalists will continue to stand on the side of love with all families.”
–Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:
“The Episcopal Church is presently engaged in a period of study and dialogue about the nature of Christian marriage. This work is moving forward, with faithful people of many different perspectives seeking together to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit. However, our Church has taken the position that neither federal nor state governments should create constitutional prohibitions that deny full civil rights and protections to gay and lesbian persons, including those available to different-sex couples through the civic institution of marriage.
“Accordingly, I welcome today’s decision of the United States Supreme Court that strikes down the 17-year-old law prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex civil marriages granted by the states. The unmistakable movement toward civil marriage equality in the states over the past decade reflects the will of the people in those states to grant equal rights and dignity under the law to all married couples and families, and today’s decision will appropriately allow those families to be recognized under federal law as well. At the same time, the Court’s withholding of judgment on the ultimate constitutional question of whether a state may ban same-sex marriage reflects the fact that this conversation will continue to evolve in coming years. I trust that Episcopalians will contribute actively and faithfully to this conversation, particularly as our nation begins to discern the many practical implications of today’s decisions for areas of our shared life, ranging from immigration law to family rights.
“I am deeply aware that faithful Americans find themselves on all sides of these issues, including those who have not yet clearly discerned an effective or appropriate response. It is possible to disagree AND work together for the good of the larger community. That is the bedrock of our democratic political system. It is also the foundation of life in the Body of Christ. Together we can help to build up the whole community, particularly if we have the courage to listen deeply to those who hold a different view. The Episcopal Church has an ancient tradition of attempting to hold divergent views together for the sake of deeper truth. All are beloved of God, and the flourishing of each is what we believe God intended from the beginning of creation. May we help to build a beloved community in which each and every person is treated with dignity, knowing that each and every one reflects the image of God.”
–Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America:
“In response to the decisions announced today by the United States Supreme Court with reference to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, we reiterate the historical position of the Jewish faith, enunciated unequivocally in our Bible, Talmud and Codes, which forbids homosexual relationships and condemns the institutionalization of such relationships as marriages. Our religion is emphatic in defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. Our beliefs in this regard are unalterable. At the same time, we note that Judaism teaches respect for others and we condemn discrimination against individuals.
“We are grateful that we live in a democratic society, in which all religions are free to express their opinions about social issues and to advocate vigorously for those opinions. The reason we opt to express our viewpoint in a public forum is because we believe that our Divine system of law not only dictates our beliefs and behaviors, but also represents a system of universal morality, and therefore can stake a claim in the national discourse. That morality, expressed in what has broadly been labeled Judeo-Christian ethics, has long had a place in American law and jurisprudence.
“We also recognize that no religion has the right to dictate its beliefs to the entire body politic and we do not expect that secular law will always align with our viewpoint. Ultimately, decisions on social policy remain with the democratic process, and today the process has spoken and we accord the process and its result the utmost respect.
“The Orthodox Union is proud to assert its beliefs and principles in the public forum, and will continue to do so in a manner that is tolerant and respectful of all of our nation’s citizens, but which is also authentically based upon our sacred ancient texts and time-honored traditions.”
–National Council of Jewish Women:
“Today’s decisions by the US Supreme Court represent a gratifying and historic step towards justice and equality for same sex couples under our nation’s laws. The 5-4 decision in Windsor v. Connecticut is as significant as it is simple: DOMA, the 1996 federal law barring recognition of same-sex couples, was a violation of equal protection for legally married same-sex couples. NCJW is gratified that the Court’s decision in this case grants same-sex couples the respect, rights, and recognition that they deserve and for which they have struggled for many years.
“The ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry that the sponsors of Proposition 8 did not have standing to challenge California’s marriage equality law, restores justice for same-sex couples in that state who found their marriages cruelly invalidated by a ballot measure. Although the impact of the decision does not extend beyond California, NCJW hopes that this decision serves to highlight the uneven rights of LGBT people around the country and will inspire more states to join the growing number of marriage equality states. NCJW, long an advocate for marriage equality, pledges to redouble its efforts to win this important right nationwide.
“These decisions are a victory not just for the LGBT community but for all who value equality and fairness.”
–National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Hispanic Evangelical Association:
“Hispanic Christians are both in support of biblical marriage and against homophobia. Today’s ruling opens the door for inevitable intolerance towards people of faith who repudiate bigotry, defend the image of God in all human beings and also believe that marriage is a sacred union defined by Him.
“First, we must stand committed to reconciling the vertical image of God in every human being with the horizontal habits and actions of Christ. This requires a new narrative, an alternative discourse where we stand for truth without sacrificing civility.
“For the image of God lives in all human beings; black and white; rich and poor; straight and gay; conservative and liberal; citizen and undocumented. Our challenge is to see the image of God in the suffering, the marginalized, the oppressed and the hurting. Our challenge is to see the image of God in every human being — including those with whom we disagree.
“Correspondingly, Hispanic Evangelicals remain committed to advancing not the agenda of the donkey or the elephant, but only the agenda of the Lamb, which is one of righteousness and justice; sanctification and service; covenant and community; holiness and humility; and conviction and compassion. It is this agenda that provides the moral imperative to defend biblical truth with love and civility.
“For Hispanic Evangelicals, our support of the biblical definition of marriage is not a matter of politics, but rather a matter of faith. It is our faith that compels us to care for the poor and speak against injustice. It is our faith that prompts us to speak out against bullying and against the persecution of gays and lesbians in Third World countries. It is our Christian faith that requires us to uphold the biblical definition of marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman.
“Support of traditional definition of marriage is not about being anti-anyone or anything. We understand that a marriage with mom and dad in the home serves as the primary antidote against teen pregnancy, gang activity, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency and many social ills.
“For at the end of the day, we desire that all Americans embrace life, enjoy liberty and pursue happiness – without exception. Yet the nation’s highest court does not have the right to redefine an institution defined by God that stems reinforced by the worlds’ major faith narratives and traditions.”
–The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
“By ruling that supporters of Proposition 8 lacked standing to bring this case to court, the Supreme Court has highlighted troubling questions about how our democratic and judicial system operates. Many Californians will wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong when their government will not defend or protect a popular vote that reflects the views of a majority of their citizens.
“In addition, the effect of the ruling is to raise further complex jurisdictional issues that will need to be resolved.
“Regardless of the court decision, the Church remains irrevocably committed to strengthening traditional marriage between a man and a woman, which for thousands of years has proven to be the best environment for nurturing children. Notably, the court decision does not change the definition of marriage in nearly three-fourths of the states.”
–George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God:
“This morning, the United States Supreme Court issued rulings in two highly anticipated same-sex marriage cases: United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry.
“I am grateful that the Supreme Court upheld the right of the states to legally define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, rather than striking down such laws via judicial fiat.
“However, I am concerned that the Court’s uniformly negative portrayal of opponents of same-sex marriage in United States v. Windsor is both false and demeaning. And I am concerned that its Fifth Amendment reasons for overturning the federal definition of marriage (in the Defense of Marriage Act) will be used in the future to overturn similar state definitions.
“It is especially disturbing that Justice Kennedy, in his majority opinion, identified “animus” against homosexuals as one motivating factor in the adoption of the Congressional Defense of Marriage Act. To apply the word “animus” to those who hold to the view that marriage is reserved for a man and woman is an inflammatory accusation that ignores our principled arguments and demeans our motives.
“You see this animus in Christians being labeled as haters, homophobes and bigots when the reverse is true. Humanitarian care and love for neighbor is a timeless value demonstrated daily by Christians. If the culture can dehumanize followers of Christ by attaching hateful labels to them, then it’s only a matter of time until Christians are first marginalized for their faith, deprived of their 1st amendment rights, and ultimately persecuted.
“Americans disagree about the advisability of same-sex marriage. In their often-heated debates, they deserve to have their reasons and motivations portrayed honestly by the other side. And they deserve the right to resolve these issues at the ballot box, one way or another. This is the essence of self-government.
“In his dissent, Justice Scalia predicted that this decision was only the first shoe to drop. As American culture shifts away from its Judeo-Christian heritage, the speed of that shift will only be accelerated in the days to come.
“The decision today is a call to Christians to fervently pray and actively work for a great spiritual awakening in our land. God tells us what to do now: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).”